HP Envy X2 review
The HP Envy X2 is a Windows 8 tablet that comes with an accompanying keyboard dock that turns it into a miniature laptop. Unlike other Windows 8 tablets we’ve seen, it only runs the 32-bit version of the operating system rather than the full 64-bit version, but this isn’t really an issue with the Envy X2 as it has only 2GB of RAM.
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Detaching the screen is as simple as flipping the switch on top of the keyboard tray and pulling it apart. It can be a little stiff at times and it often required a firm push to connect it back into the keyboard, but it’s kept in place by a combination of magnetic connectors and a sturdy latch.
As a tablet, the Envy X2 looks stunning. Made from brushed aluminium, it’s very thin and weighs little more than an iPad. The keyboard dock almost doubles the weight of the tablet, but it still weighs just 1.4kg altogether, making either form very easy to slip into a bag.
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It has a bright 11.6in IPS display and a 1,366×768 resolution, but its overall image quality was quite average compared to other tablets we’ve seen. Our reds, greens and blues were reasonably rich, but blacks and whites were quite grey and our high contrast images all lacked a certain level of detail. Darker scenes were particularly difficult to look at due to its reflective glossy finish, but its wide viewing angles went some way in making up for this.
A rear-facing 8-megapixel camera rounds off the Envy X2’s main tablet features. Our outdoor shots were a bit on the dreary side, but there was a good level of detail in all of our photos and only a very minimal amount of noise in large expanses of cloud. It couldn’t cope with lower lighting conditions, though, and our indoor shots were packed full of noise and inaccurate colours. Capturing video was even worse as colour accuracy was constantly changing even while we’d left a few lights on. It wasn’t able to hold its focus when more than one light source was introduced either, and turning all our main lights off looked like there was a swarm of flies in front of the camera.
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The sides of the tablet are too thin to hold any connectors, but there’s a combined headphone and microphone jack and microSD card slot on the base that docks into the keyboard. This will be vital in expanding the Envy X2’s total storage, as it only comes with a 64GB SSD, which doesn’t leave a huge amount of room for anyone with a large media collection.
A pair of Beats Audio speakers are located just underneath its bezel, but these were quite disappointing. Our test tracks not only sounded very tinny with hardly any bass, but their location near the bottom of the tablet means that most of the sound gets obscured when it’s attached to the keyboard dock. They’re all right for the odd YouTube clip, but you’ll definitely want to connect a pair of headphones for listening to music.